BUSINESS · PERSONAL

A True (Business) Story

I dunno if you know this, but in 2005 when my dad and I co-founded Life Blends people thought we were nutz. Quite literally.

“You’re gonna make freshly squeezed juices? No pasteurization? No added water? No sugar? No additives? No preservatives? Wait! You’re telling me they don’t last 76 years in your pantry? Say whaaaaaat? I don’t get it!” They said.

The following year we were given the highest national award for business innovation.

Innovation is, and has always been in our DNA. Daring to do what we believe in hasn’t always come easy, but it feels gooooood.

Our door has been knocked multiple times to go bigger, to make more, to cut corners, to take short cuts, to add X to extend shelf life by Y. You name it. We’ve heard it all. It’s seducing, don’t get me wrong, but none of it helps us sleep at night, so we said NO. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

After 13 years of making freshly cold-pressed juice daily, we are proud to say YES to a our new ECO bottle. Cause after a while it becomes more than just a family business, ya know? It’s starts to be about legacy, about doing our part, about leaving our mark.

We want to be known not just for making freaking-amazing juices that are good for you, but for doing it in a way that also cares, respects and honors our planet.

There is no Planet B. That’s why our new packaging is 100% biodegradable and 100% recyclable. Piiiiiiinch me.

Let’s build a better world for our kids, and their grandkids, and for our puppies, cats, pandas… and EVERYBODY. Okay except lizards.

Life Blends just go a mayor upgrade. Life Blends 2.0 is here. Greener than ever. BOOM!

And that’s the real story.

Now I would love to hear YOUR crazy biz story. What decisions and core values help YOU sleep at night? Tell me in the blog comments.

 

 

 

Juices: @lifeblends 
Photography: @ptyology
Food Styling: @vivimartinez 
Package: @marlenefranco
Illustrations: @mayicarles

PERSONAL

I will miss it. A lot.

Today, our alarm clock didn’t go off. Olivia wakes us up at 6:19am. Her bus picks her up at 6:30am. I panicked as she said, “Ya es de día mama… quelo ir a la escuela.” (English Translation: It’s daylight mom… and I wanna go to school).

I seriously considered telling her it was Sunday, but in a split second of rush/adrenaline/guilt/mom-power, I said, “We’re gonna make it”. Skipped the usual bubble bath. No Moana tunes. Brushed her teeth very quickly. I forget if I combed her hair. I know for sure there was no time to accessorize her uniform with the usual wood pearls n’ such. Grabbed her lunchbox, but forgot to pack a spoon for her yogurt. Called the elevator. When we got to the lobby, the bus was coming into the drive way. “Look, we did it!” 

It’s official, I blinked and she’s a threenager waving me goodbye. And as I take it all in, I wanted to write this post to remind myself to ENJOY IT. All of it. To let her climb into bed with us at night. To hold her a little tighter when all she wants is to shower with me. To sing that song she requested for the 12th time. To read that book, again and again. To embrace the exhaustion, the overwhelm, the hard days, cause I know one day, not that far away from here, I will miss it. A lot.

DESIGN · PERSONAL

BIG NEWS: I Made A Unicorn and It’s So Fluffy!

Back in May 26, 2015, I designed the most magical unicorn for my friends at Undercover.

Juicy, a handsome + good-hearted unicorn was born in an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper that was then hand painted, scanned and digitalized with love by my 10 little fingers. 

Since his earliest days, Juicy has worked side by side with a handful of do-good organizations to help children in need. He’s become somewhat of a celebrity around town for his good looks and philanthropic endeavors.

But he’s lived in Rainbow-2D-Land. Until now.

Juicy is officially ALIVE!!! And it’s so fluffy!!! All thanks to the great vision of #girlboss Mary Quintero, CEO of Undercover.

Meet Juicy Fernando, the most magical friend for a rainy any day.

Want one?

I am so so so happy to announce that Juicy Fernando is now available for pre-order here!

First parcels will ship out October 1st, 2018. My birthday month. Hip hip hooray!

Save 15% when you order during the pre-sale period. Plus knock and EXTRA 10% when you use my exclusive coupon code “messy” (without the quotations).

Click here to shop now!

Be sure to follow the hashtag #JuicyFernando to catch Juicy’s adventures. 

 

 

 

Designed by @mayicarles

Powered by @undercoverboots

 

 
PERSONAL

Did I Ever Tell You About That Time I Got Stranded in an Island?

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes, when I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed and I see all those gorgeous pics of millennials having money fights in yachts (or what surely looks like it), I secretly daydream of fame + glory.

Sometimes, when I’m filming videos for my blog, I fantasize about having my very own video crew – make-up artist + personal stylist + copy wizard on my team + art director + second camera gal for B-Roll. It would be nice. And easier.

Sometimes, when I’m planning my launches, I imagine what it would be like to do everything I wanna do without having to worry about the freaking budget.

Sometimes… WAIT!

Did I ever tell you about that time I got stranded in an island?

Here’s the story.

I used to be a Program Coordinator for a Central American initiative that gathered the very top leaders in the region under one roof to talk about leadership and giving back. My back in the day gig.

Roatan, Honduras. June 28 2009. I was getting the final details ready for our next leadership seminar so I could finally go snorkeling. At approximately 9AM one hundred soldiers stormed the president’s residence in Tegucigalpa + flew him to San José, Costa Rica. Actions which he immediately called a “coup” upon his arrival there.

Later that day, Roberto Micheletti, the President of Congress and next in the presidential line of succession, declared a “state of exception” suspending civil liberties + various curfews were imposed nationwide.

Our conference was canceled. Obviously. Airports were closed. Mojito pool service was suspended. Sh*t!

Three days in, I’m STILL stranded on this island will all these VIPs, but no seminar. Things start to get scarier, and then… I have this vivid memory of Andres Botran, CEO of Ron Botran*, sitting by my side making phone calls.

* Mind you, Ron Botran is a line of rums from Guatemala distilled by the Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala, the same distillery that produces the world renowned + award-winning Zacapa line of rums. Aka his a freaking big deal.

Andres hangs up the phone, and says, “I got us a plane out of here, but it’s gotta happen within the next 3 hours. All bags stay behind”.

This would be a secret operation since all air travel was banned.

“I’m in”, I said. It seemed like my one opportunity to do something dangerous + adventurous to tell my grandkids. My Mission Impossible moment.

That night I arrived safely in Panamanian soil. Coincidentally it’s also the night David asked me to be his girlfriend.

And that day I learned about the power of being somebody. Someone very important people respect + admire + love. About the power of knowing people, who know people, who know people. About the power of being able to snap fingers + make the unimaginable happen.

And I remember thinking, “I WANT SOME OF THAT!”

One day I want be able to pick up the phone and be like, “Hey sistah, it’s Mayi Carles here. I need a favor. I mean a plane.” Or whatever.

For years, I’ve been scared to reveal this secret. Will people think I’m an ego-maniac? Am I?

Am I ku-ra-zy for wanting to live in a world were problems get solved by people? Not United Nations, not governments, but PEOPLE?

Am I selfish for wanting to live in a world were honest hard work gives you influence? Influence to truly create big tsunamis of change in the world, the good kind?

Am I opportunistic for wanting to live in a world where karma is at stake everyday all day? Karma that gets innocent people out of sticky situations, sometimes in the form of a private jet, why not?

Am I alone? Wouldn’t it be nice to be recognized? To be stopped in the street by complete strangers, “Hey, I saw what you did there. I thought that was pretty cool.” And to use that “celebrity” status to make the world a better place?

Can we talk about it? In the comments? Cuz I don’t want to feel weird about this anymore.

LIFESTYLE · PERSONAL

A Messy Guide to Traveling with Kids

Tuileries Garden, Paris, France – 2018

It’s no secret that I’m a hermit at heart, but when I do leave the house/office, I LOVE to explore the world + go on adventures with my family.

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how I survive bringing Olivia on board. It’s funny you ask because I’m still pleasantly surprise I’ve pulled it off without casualties.

Still, let me be the first to confess that I definitely don’t have all the answers when it comes to traveling smoothly with a 2 year old toddler. What I can provide is a little insight as to how we do it wing it, in case you’re curious + feel inspired to go on your own family outings.

Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy – 2016

I’ve rounded up a lot of answers to some of your most frequently asked questions below. Let’s call it A Messy Guide to Traveling with Kids, and living to tell the tale.

The Comb of The Wind, San Sebastian, Spain – 2018

Is traveling with kids really worth it?

I know some people feel strongly that taking kids around the world when they won’t be able to remember it all perfectly is a total waste. I see your point. You might actually be right.

But! David + I truly believe exposing Olivia at a very young age to different cultures + smells + tastes + languages + people, really helps her grow – turn her into a less high maintenance little dictador and more into a mini warrior capable of adapting to any given situation or environment (except when not feed).

I always joke that our goal is to raise a wash n’ wear kid. Not a dry clean one. Can you imagine? It would make parenting so much harder than it already is. 

Rome, Italy – 2016

I’ve also found that not many things top the memories our family has created while traveling, Of course, once you get over that first panic attack of “are we crazy, can we really do this?” It’s ALL worth it – the good (discovering an amazing gelato parlor) + the not so good (getting lost in an airport). 

If anything, traveling together has helped build a special bond between us I am thankful for.

At home + the office everything is such a GO GO GO – emails + launches + live calls (and making sure the nanny distracts Olivia so she doesn’t interrupt the webinar) + to-do lists + groceries + client projects + passion projects + house chores, that we rarely have sacred time as a family of three, know what I mean?

Time stops the moment you’re on vacation. You forget the time. You don’t know if it’s Sunday or Monday. It’s pretty neat. 

Louvre Palace, Paris, France – 2018
Biarritz, France – 2018
La Rioja, Spain – 2018
Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy – 2016

Additionally, as you can probably tell, I’m obsessed with documenting the journey with photos + videos + Insta Stories. Oli often asks me to watch our travel clips over and over again or look at pictures from past vacations. 

Maybe she won’t remember any of it. But we sure will.

Bilbao, Spain – 2018

How do you manage sleeping during your trips?

We like to book a hotel with a king size bed so Olivia can sleep in the middle, just like we do at home. Yes, we co-sleep.

Some hotels, especially in Europe don’t offer this option (even if they say so in their website), so we have to settle for joined-twin beds. I let it slide, but not before whining to hubby + having a lil’ diva moment. Then I remember I’m on vacation, and I calm myself before I wreck myself. Whenever we get a joined bed arrangement, I grab the extra comforter in the room closet, lay it in the middle of the bed, and voila!

Rome, Italy – 2016

Olivia has never been the crib-lover type so she’s grown accustomed to sleeping anywhere as long as mom + dad are on the bed. I guess this has it’s pro’s + cons, doesn’t it? But during travels it’s definitively an advantage.

Oh! And I travel with my pillow, cause not all pillows are created equal. Makes anywhere feel like home.

Tip: Exhaust all your resources to tire out your child before arriving to your room, so when they land on that bed they pass out immediately. Those precious moments of utter silence to scroll your phone + edit photos + post Insta Stories are priceless.

It’s also worth noting that we go for hotels over airbnbs. We like the convenience of having our beds made + fresh towels everyday.

Another biggie is choosing a centric home base in case you have to catch your breath in the middle of the day. We don’t mind splurging a bit more on a hotel to make sure we’re close to everything, and we can easily go back, if needed.  

Montmartre, Paris – 2018

How do you handle meals while traveling?

The biggest thing is to hit a grocery store as soon as we arrive to stock up on healthy snacks (fresh fruit + yogurt + granola + muesli + water), cause no one wants to pay for overcharged water at the hotel mini bar or deal with anyone that’s hangry, including mama when traveling. Game changer.

Mercato Centrale, Florence, Italy – 2016

We do a couple of these market runs during the trip. Personally, I really enjoy seeing all the foreign/local food offered. You can tell so much about a place from what they eat, can’t you? And I love to bring home some staples, like a really nice truffle oil or decadent chocolates.

When it comes to dinning out we typically don’t make restaurant reservations. We either ask the concierge at the hotel + friends who’ve been there recently or clients who live there for recommendations. As much as we love an amazing foodie experience (have your seen Chef’s Table? Our fave show EVER!), we rarely go for the trendy Michelin-star rated spots. We opt for the local laid back favorites. 

Florence, Italy – 2016

If I was traveling alone with David, we wouldn’t mind the pretentiousness + the dressing up for the occasion + the long lines + the doll-size food + the bill. We would actually dig the theatricality, and talk about it for ages. But with a kid, heck to the no. Simple, is better.

Also, let me say, we’ve been surprised to find out that eating out with Olivia (and my nice + nephew on our most recently trip) is far more enjoyable than expected. Watching the kids eat an authentic paella or ask to dip their fries in a special aioli sure warms our hearts.

Zarautz, Spain – 2018

A few more tips when it comes to eating out:

  • Ask for a booth or corner table.
  • Order right when you sit down.
  • Ask for the check when your food comes.
  • Wine always makes you a more tolerant parent.
  • Let your kid sprinkle gummy bears on top of her croissant if she so desperately wants to. 
  • Bring a bag of small toys + sticker books for entertainment (I’m an absolute tyrant when it comes to allowing iPads/phones at the table. Don’t like it. Won’t  tolerate it in my regime. Any other time yes, but not here!)
  • Order something safe from the menu.
  • Order something audacious to try something new.
  • Share food.
  • Always order dessert. No one wants to be related to that person who’s counting calories on vacay.
  • Do a restroom run first thing, and last before leaving the restaurant.
Subway, Paris, France – 2018

Do you travel with a stroller?

I bring our stroller along all the time. We rarely use it at home, but we swear by it when traveling abroad.

We enjoy wandering by foot. We like to get to know a place by walking, several miles if we need to. Having the stroller to rely on is wonderful.

Also, it truly helps in the airport! We don’t even check ours with our luggage. We use it throughout the airport + check it at the plane doors or fit it into the overhead compartment (one of the nice perks of the model we purchased).

In case you’re interested we have the BabyZen YOYO+. What we love about this particular stroller is that it folds and unfolds + can be carried like a bag + can be driven with one hand (the suspension is SICK) + fits just about anywhere + it’s easily stored + can be taken as cabin luggage. Sure makes life easier when you want to grab a bite + catch an Uber + hop on the subway or fly to the other end of the world. After doing my research, it seems like the best fit for our family.

What I love about bringing a stroller along is that it serves as a home base during our days of exploring, where Oli can sit + relax or nap when needed. Oh! And if mama ever feels like shopping, guess what carries all the bags? Wink wink.

I think we’re blessed thou with a child that has no problem taking stroller naps, since her earliest days. And we don’t take that for granted. 

Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen, Panamá – 2018

How to you survive airports + lengthy flights with kids?

Here are my top tricks to surviving airports + long flights:

  • Wear comfy matching outfits. Bonus if you look like an Olympic ping pong team. 
  • If you’re traveling with a stroller, don’t check it with your bags. Once you get to the gate, be sure to go up + check in straight away. They will give you a tag for your stroller + also help you board the plane first, which is nice so you can get situated before all hell breaks loose (just kidding). But seriously, probably the best perk to flying with kids is getting to board early!
  • If you’re traveling with a baby, nurse or give them a pacifier during take-off + landing. That constant sucking + swallowing motion can help with the plane changing pressure considerably. For toddlers, you can give them something to eat during this time so they are also chewing.
  • The iPad is my best friend during long flights. Something I never thought I’d say a few years ago. We didn’t expose Olivia to a screen until she turned 1, and we allow minimal screen time at home, so Oli is always elated to get a free pass to watch all the movies she wants on the plane, and we happily oblige. Her all-time-favorite is The Sound of Music + her current obsession is a tie between Ferdinand + Coco.
  • Get on-ear headphones. Airplane ones suck. We got some pretty cheap ones for $17 that were comfortably padded, but you can go nuts if you can and get fancy noise-blocking ones.  
  • Pack a carry on full of surprises! A new coloring book + little animals + reusable stickers + play dough + a toy doctor kit + gel markers. 
  • Also, pack snacks in your carry on that are easy to eat + keep their blood sugar up.  We take grapes + blueberries (careful, they stain) + pretzels with chocolate hazelnut butter + empanadas + raisins + granola bars. I also bring her favorite treats – chocolate covered goji berries + gummies, for manipulation purposes only.
  • When the seatbelt sign is turned off and it’s okay to move around, take a walk up + down the aisles. It’s hard enough for me as an adult to sit still for an hour or two, so I can’t imagine forcing a child to. Plus! It helps to break up the trip, especially if it’s hours upon hours to let them get a bit of exercise.
  • Be nice to the people around you. I remember I made homemade granola favors for Olivia’s first trip (she was 6-months old and we we’re flying to a wedding in Vieques, Puerto Rico) to apologize in advance to my fellow passengers for what they were about to experience. I was always that person who hated seating close to a crying baby, and now I was about to become that mom. Oh God! Oli was still breastfeeding at the time + she ended up sleeping the entire plane ride, but the point is: be a nice and considerate human being. Doesn’t hurt to say hello when you sit down + apologize up front for any crying + spilling or chaos that may break loose at some point during the flight. And let them know you will do your best to keep it to a minimum. 

Not gonna lie. So far, we’ve been really really lucky in our flights. Great people around us, as well as great flight attendants. And when we travel with other family members, everyone help us + we take sleeping shifts. It makes such a big difference.

Very occasionally you may see an eye roll, but for the most part, people are awesome, which makes me regain my faith in humanity. Several folks have actually offered help when they see you could use a hand. They understand you’re just trying to get somewhere too.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France – 2018

How do you decide what activities to do + where to go to keep both the adults + kid(s) happy?

Everyone does as I say. Period.

Kidding.

What happens is Oli is still small. It’s kind of a breeze, because she just cruises in her little stroller vehicle as we wander around museums or shops. 

I know my days are counted thou. Soon enough, Olivia will have a say in the activity planning. And my life will be over.

Kidding.

Florence, Italy – 2016

Obviously we enjoy wine tours + majestic cathedral strolls + shopping sprees, but nothing beats a stop at a carrusel + bookshop + outdoor playground + pasticceria or children’s section at any department store, and seeing Olivia’s eye light up. And so do ours.

Athletic Club Bilbao, Spain – 2018
Galerie Lafayette, Paris, France – 2018

We love seeing her so happy, and I think that’s what ends up happening to all us parents. We soften up in our knees. It’s pretty pathetic. And beautiful.

You know what else? Something we have found to work really well is to show Olivia pictures + maps + YouTube videos + books of the places we are headed, and talk about our trip far in advance. The anticipation of a trip can be as exciting as the trip itself. 

 

Nassau, Bahamas – 2016
Monte Igueldo, Spain – 2018

If I missed anything you are curious about, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to respond!

Florence, Italy – 2016

And if you have any tips of your own that you don’t mind sharing, I would really appreciate it. We have a big trip coming up – the farthest destination yet, and we’re a bit nervous, and could use a hand.

Biarritz, France – 2018
Rome, Italy – 2016

If you only remember one thing from this article please let it be this: Don’t stress yourself out too much about traveling with little ones. You got this! You are a super mom! You were showered with invisible mom superpower confetti capable of achieving the impossible in extraordinary circumstances.

I promise it’s much easier than it looks. Let me even dare say it’s much more straightforward + intuitive + simple than parenting from home. I swear! Or else I wouldn’t keep doing it, do you think I’m a masochist? 

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